News & Analysis

  1. elsewhere

    Facebook releases standalone stickers app

    Facebook has released a new “lightweight” application that allows consumers to add stickers to their images before sharing them with friends via the Facebook Messenger app. The feature is available first for Android smartphones and soon for the iPhone — a rare sequence, as many new apps debut on Apple’s platform first. [Source: Facebook]
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  3. eBay

    eBay finally cuts ties with ultraconservative ALEC

    It’s about time. Following in the footsteps of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and practically every other major tech firm that claims to care about the environment, eBay has finally announced it will not renew its membership with the ultraconservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). “After our annual review of eBay Inc’s memberships in trade associations and third party organizations we’ve decided not to renew our membership with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),” an eBay spokesperson told Reuters. While ALEC supports a host of controversial right-wing…
  4. PirateLego

    Judge says alleged Silk Road founder can’t be held responsible for every bad thing that happened on the platform

    As the trial of alleged Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, gets closer, a federal judge has ruled on what federal prosecutors can and cannot bring up in court. According to Court House News, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest has ruled that Ulbricht can be accused of culpability in the site’s trade in drugs and fake IDs but that it’s unreasonable to blame him for all of Silk Road’s illegal trading. “I want to say to the government that I’m troubled by…
  5. Black car

    Uber launches UberLUX service in LA, offers high-priced rides in Teslas, Mercedes, and BMWs

    Los Angeles is considered by many to be a city of glitz and glamour. It’s ground zero for the entertainment industry and many of the world’s most beautiful people. It’s also a place where your wealth, power, and style – real or perceived – carry abnormally high worth. Uber appears eager to cater to – or capitalize on – this demand for luxury and superficial status, as the company yesterday announced the launch of a premium offering in the city:…
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    FBI formally blames North Korea for Sony Pictures hack

    North Korea has been officially blamed for the recent hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which planned to release a film about killing the country’s leader but ultimately decided not to after the hack took place, by the FBI. [Source: FBI]
  8. Converted Church Home

    With rabid overseas demand, home design favorite Houzz looks to triple its international reach in 2015

    After getting a taste of international operation in 2014, Houzz is going back for a second helping in 2015. With overseas outposts currently in the UK, Australia, Germany, and France, the home remodeling and design community will expand its footprint into a total of 15 non-US markets in the first half of 2015 with its sights firmly set on covering all of Europe and much of Asia as soon as possible. “We’re discovered that we have a strong…
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    Instagram receives new $35B valuation

    Citigroup has reportedly raised its valuation of Instagram from $19 billion to $35 billion. The photo-sharing company was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for “approximately $1 billion in a combination of cash and shares in Facebook.” [Source: TechCrunch]
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  11. movieposters

    SOPA lives? MPAA looks to revive parts of the controversial bill to fight piracy

    The Motion Pictures Association of America wants to implement some aspects of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011, and it’s enlisting the help of state-level lawmakers to do so, according to numerous reports about the association’s efforts. Internet advocates fought SOPA aggressively when it was revealed in 2011. Websites like Reddit, Wikipedia, and Google “went dark” to raise awareness for the issue. Activists argued that the law would lay the groundwork for digital…
  12. vanity_instagram_crop

    The reaction to the “Instagram Rapture” shows how narcissistic the service really is

    Instagram recently decided to permanently delete many of the spam accounts it’s discovered on its service. The move was meant to help the network remain “authentic” because “it’s a place where real people share real moments,” Instagram said at the time. But apparently some of the users affected by this decision aren’t happy about its impact. Business Insider reports “thousands of people” have reached out to Instagram asking it to restore their old follower counts in the wake of…
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  14. elsewhere

    Tim Cook responds to BBC investigation

    Apple chief executive Tim Cook has reportedly sent an email to Apple’s employees in the United Kingdom decrying a recent BBC report into the working conditions at one of the company’s suppliers. In it, he said he was “deeply offended” by the BBC’s reporting and said in response to the report’s implication that Apple isn’t improving those same conditions  that”nothing could be further from the truth.” [Source: BBC]
  15. yahoo

    Yahoo and Flickr reverse decision to sell Creative Commons photos

    Flickr has pulled a 180 and decided not to use Creative Commons-licensed images to create posters it planned to sell to consumers. It has removed some 50 million images from the “Wall Art” program as a result, the Wall Street Journal reports, and apologized to its users. The decision is a rare reversal from a technology company, many of which are used to profiting off users’ activities, often through advertising networks. (The saying about users, products, and knowing the…
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    The Google lawyer evicting all his tenants may be a jerk; but it wouldn’t matter if SF would just build more housing

    In 2012, Jack Halprin bought an apartment building on Guerrero St. in San Francisco’s Mission District for $1.4 million. According to a wrongful eviction lawsuit brought against Halprin by resident Susan Coss, Halprin moved into the building and evicted Coss, who lived in the unit below him, so that his then-domestic partner, Daniel Ortiz, could move into it. This is known as a “move-in eviction” and, assuming certain requirements are met, it’s perfectly legal. But Halprin and Ortiz reportedly split up before Ortiz…
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    The War Nerd: More proof the US defense industry has nothing to do with defending America

    KUWAIT CITY—This has been a classic week in the defense procurement industry. The armed services are trying to boost their worst aircraft, the totally worthless F-35, by trashing their best, the simple, effective, proven A-10 Warthog. The A-10 is popular enough that the USAF had to come up with a reason for wanting to get rid of it, and the one it produced is the sort of thing that would make any psych-therapist chuckle with glee: The…
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    Listen to this week’s PandoLIVE

    This week’s PandoLIVE was taped in an LA hotel room as we prepared for the last PandoMonthly of the year. For that reason, there were no listener calls and none of my fantastic taste in music. Instead Sarah and I talked about some of the highlights of the past 12 months of Pando, including a run-down of the ten things we least expected to happen. We’ll be back live in the Rackspace studio next week! … SPONSOR MESSAGE: Free Hosting!  Visit 
  20. garden

    Open Garden raises $10.8M to build a “Second Internet” — for the people, by the people

    Open Garden has raised $10.8 million to create the next Internet. And as crazy as that sounds, thanks to the success of its FireChat peer-to-peer messaging service, it might just work. Instead of sending messages through an Internet connection or cellphone network, FireChat uses the Bluetooth and WiFi radios on every smartphone to create its own “mesh network,” which can then transfer data between the networks’ members without requiring any external infrastructure. FireChat rose to fame earlier this year when pro-democracy…
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The Week in Review